Even if sunscreens say they’re waterproof, they’re not. Sunscreens can wash off with sweat, or just being in the water. When this happens, their sun protection washes off, too, leaving users at greater risk for burns, premature skin aging and possibly even skin cancer.

So the Food and Drug Administration has set new rules to help people know what they’re getting and when to use it. FDA dermatologist Jill Lindstrom:

``Sunscreens may only use the term `water resistant,’ and must clearly indicate how long water resistance actually lasts.’’

You might not see the change on the labels just yet because the rule is new – it’ll take effect by the summer of 2012 – so there’s a lot of product on the shelves that doesn’t have the information.

Learn more at hhs.gov.

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Comments

Seems like the key take away here it to remember to apply sunscreen throughout the day for maximum protection. This is particularly true when swimming or sun bathing. Even with the new FDA guidelines, I don't think most consumers pay attention to labels. I would imagine a campaign to remind consumers to use more than one application of sunscreen during the day when they plan on being in the sun might prove to be more effective in helping prevent sun damage.

Your story caught my eye. I think it's about time. Too bad we have to wait even another year. I think, too, that there should be requirements reminding users to still limit their time in the sun even if using sunscreen.

I definitely agree with you that sunscreens are not waterproof. I believe the only remedy is to regularly apply the sunscreen throughout the coarse of the day. Research even shows that a sunscreen above SPF 30 has no greater protection that of SPF 30.

I feel this is a very good move, especially the part about how long the sunscreens will last in the water. Being fair skinned and having a family history of skin cancer, I don't want to take any chances with my sunscreen when I head to the beach.

makes you wonder what's the point. So until this rule passes there is nothing that can be done? Thanks for the heads up at least

Actually, in 2012 the FDA mandated that manufacturers cease the use of "Waterproof" on sunscreen packaging, instead requiring the term "Water Resistant"

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